A casino expansion in northern Michigan that began in June of last year is nearing completion.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians broke ground nine months ago on its first major project in years. Within the last few days, gaming floor expansion has started and three new restaurants have opened at the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. The entirety of the expansion is working toward four diamond status and the renovation is a result of that effort, according to Up North Live.
The casino’s general manager, Ron Pete, said a four diamond hotel in Manistee County can’t help but attract visitors. Pete stated that upon completion of the expansion, the casino resort is expected to bring the County at least 45 new jobs. “We would like to think that we’re partnering with everyone here,” Pete said. “And I think it’s an economic boon to the entire community as we progress economically. And in addition to that, as we add staff, all these staff buy cars, they rent or buy houses. It’s all interdependence is how I look at it. We’re all interdependent on each other.”
Something new at the resort, a full-service spa, is included in the multi-millions dollar expansion. Hotel Operations Manager Charmaine Stone said there will be four treatment rooms, with separate sides designated for men and women complete with their own hot tubs. Also included is a new indoor pool, exercise room and outdoor pool. The spa should be operating in time for Mother’s Day, with the gaming floor expansion expected to be completed by June. Stone said that in the past, other than the pool, people visiting didn’t have any other activity options, and that the new additions will hopefully allow them to extend their stay. Over the summer, one more restaurant will be built, the Asian-fusion inspired Dragonfly near the resort’s winter garden.
The Little River Casino Resort first opened in 1999 and since that time has seen several property improvements including a major renovation in 2007. The tribe announced earlier this year they are also moving forward with a new $180 million casino that has been in the works for seven years in Fruitport Township near Muskegon. Interest in the Muskegon County casino was first declared by the tribe in January 2008, when it was looking at a downtown Muskegon site. The Little River Tribe has an office in Muskegon and a large concentration of their members live in the Muskegon area. The project expects to attract 1.88 million visitors annually, is supported by local public officials, anticipates hiring 1,200 residents, and will be a provider of significant support and funding to the state of Michigan as well as the local government.